Blanching is such a scary word, an intimidating word, but really when it comes to carrots it just means boiling. Whew! Boiling is much less intimidating than blanching, who doesn’t know how to boil water? I think anyone over the age of 10 can handle it. You may be thinking, Why must I blanch? Can’t I just chop up carrots and throw them in the freezer? Well no, not really, all fruits and vegetables contain enzymes and bacteria that over time break down the destroy nutrients, change the color, flavor, and texture of food during frozen storage. In order to destroy those enzymes and bacteria we have to blanch ’em dead! If you have diced carrots you only need to boil them for 2-3 minutes, easy peasy! So lets get to the step by step directions of how to blanch and freeze carrots.
1. Acquire carrots. You can use store-bought carrots if you realize you aren’t going to get them used before they go limp or dry. Homegrown carrots or farmers market carrots, are generally much sweeter and have more flavor than store-bought carrots. I got my carrots from my cousin’s garden. Thanks for the free carrots Shaun and Hattie! Once you have your carrots wash them in lukewarm water.
*For personal reference root vegetables like carrots and potatoes stay good much longer if they still have their original dirt on them. So if you get homegrown potatoes for someone don’t wash them until you are going to eat them and keep them in a brown paper bag. The paper bag is breathable so moisture doesn’t get stuck in the bag and mold the potatoes and keeping them in the dark keeps them from turning green and sprouting. Store bought root vegetables are pre-washed and this is why they generally don’t stay good for very long.
2. Peel your carrots and cut the ends off. I then like to do a quick rinse.
3. Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil.
4. Dice up those carrots!
5. Once they are diced get a large bowl fill it with cold water and some ice cubes. You want the water to be really cold to stop the cooking process.
6. Once the pot of water on the stove is boiling pour carrots in and boil for about 3 minutes.
7. After boiling for 2-3 minutes drain water off carrots and immediately put carrots in ice water. (Boil longer if you are wanting to freeze strips of carrots.)
8. A general rule of thumb is that you keep the carrots in the ice water for the same amount of time you boil them.
9. After time is up drain carrots again.
10. Use freezer bags to store carrots and don’t forget to write the contents and the date. This way you can keep track of what you already have and how old it is. Freezer bags are better than regular bags because they are thicker and help protect your food from freezer burn. Pour as many carrots in a bag as you would usually use in a meal or soup, etc.
11. Put bags in the freezer! I like to keep my freezer food flattened in their freezer bags, this cuts down thawing time dramatically! To thaw put bag in a bowl of lukewarm water for 10 minutes or so, or you can even throw them right into your casserole/stew/etc. frozen if they will be cooked for a while.
Where did I learn to blanch carrots? By talking to friends and family who have done it, also from this blog post, and doing it myself. Enjoy!